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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Second Novels We Wish We Could Read

Like the rest of America I have watched, enthralled, the debate going on at the child_lit listserv as to whether or not folks should/are choosing to eschew reading Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

I’m sorry, what that?

I’m being informed that despite my opinions on the matter, America does not collectively read child_lit.  I find this version of the facts suspicious and will look into it further, later.

In any case, here at NYPL, Gwen Glazer came up with an interesting idea.  She wrote, “we’re thinking about other authors we wish would suddenly come out (some posthumously) with another novel many years after their first—and only— full-length works of fiction.”  Of course, considering the backlash against Lee’s book, one wonders if such sequels would be as desired by the masses as they might once have been.  Glazer’s list is fun, so I wondered about what children’s novels we might want to see sequels to.  Some already have perfectly good, if not particularly well known sequels, of course.  Harriet the Spy, for example.  But others might do well.  I’m going to try to eschew those books that have had posthumous novels already written by others (Peter Pan’s, Pooh’s, Wind in the Willow’s, A Little Princess’s, etc.) and stick with some that have worlds I’d like to return to.  Books like . . .

The Secret Garden


Purging from our brains the lamentable Hallmark version of The Secret Garden which took it upon itself to stage the book as a flashback (the WWI present day bring to mind rejected sequences from Downton Abbey and included such terrible ideas as a Mary/Colin romance and a dead soldier Dickon) I’m not saying that a sequel to this book would be a good idea.  Just an interesting one.  I mean, you have a house with a hundred empty rooms.  Forget the garden, I wanna know the house’s history.  But maybe that’s just me.



Yeah yeah yeah.  Look, you can tell me all day long that Small Steps was the sequel, but it wasn’t.  It was a companion novel and what I want is more Yelnats.  Gimme more of that guy.  I liked that guy.  I want to know where that guy’s going.

The Phantom Tollbooth


Admit it. It writes itself.

Stuart Little


People always put down Anne Carroll Moore for not loving this little mouse. Well I can attest that in 3rd grade I became appalled by the ending of this book.  Stuart sets off in his canoe to find his delightful bird friend and . . . the end.  Open ended finales were never for me.  I was just so mad when I found out that there wasn’t a sequel.  So I’m in the Moore camp.  Stuart’s not my favorite but maybe that’s just because I needed more of him.  And while we’re at it.

Charlotte’s Web


Sacrilege!  Horrors!  It would be the worst idea of all time.  But . . . come on.  I wanna know about those three spider sisters that stay with Wilbur.  Forget the rest of the farm, what adventures do they get into?  Oh, fine.  Bad idea.  But I’m still curious.

Any bad ideas/impossible to resist curiosities to share?

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I thought for years – years! – that our edition of Stuart Little was missing the last few chapters. When I finally borrowed a different edition from the library, only to find it ended in the same place, and that was, in fact, where the book finished … well, I was never read it again, and I am an avid re-reader. So yeah, I’m all for a sequel for this one.

    Also for The Secret Garden! Mostly because I adore Mary and Dickon and loathe Colin down to my very toes, and want SOMETHING that will do away with the awful, awful idea that Colin and Mary end up marrying. UGH. NO.

  2. I can’t blame Hallmark Mary…if Colin turned into Colin Firth, I’d marry him too.

    • It so happens the Hallmark Colin was played by my 7th student of the time, Jadrien Steele. He came back from the filming in England telling us fabulous stories about the animals, Derek Jacobi, Colin Firth (indeed:), and others.

      • Elizabeth Bird says:

        Okay. You are officially blowing my mind now. Gonna go join Josh Funk in his reading of Purplicious to clear my brain for a bit.

  3. I’d say pretty much any Roald Dahl book (James & the Giant Peach, The Witches, The BFG), but I’ve read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, so I’d quickly take that back.

    I also kind of feel that way about a bunch of KD books. Despereaux, Edward Tulane.

    But now I’m very concerned about the Great Glass Elevator effect. This begs the question, how many sequels are out there would have been better off not written?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      For what it’s worth, I suspect that someone write a middle grade novel called THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR EFFECT because that just screams for a complex narrative. In the meantime, I want to steal your idea for a Bad Sequel post. LOVE that idea.

    • Genevieve says:

      I would agree that it might’ve been better off not being written, except that I love the name Vermicious K’nids.

  4. Someone DID write a sequel to The Secret Garden. Made the mistake of reading it as a teen. Horrible.

  5. Hey–are we sure we want to know what happens to these people? Didn’t you post just the other day that Pippi Longstocking grew up to become The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Hmmm. Excellent point that.

    • Lisa Silverman says:

      I missed that post, Elizabeth, but I’d love to see you expand on that–how about gathering up other kid lit characters and figuring out who they grew up to be? Fun, no?

  6. Judy Houser says:

    Watchman is the rough draft of Mockingbird, not the sequel. In the rough draft of Gone with the Wind, Scarlet was originally named Pansy.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Indeed. At this point we get into authorial intent vs. public perception. It was written as a rough draft. It has been received as a sequel. So where does the author’s intentions (and here we could get into a HUGE debate about whether or not Harper Lee ever meant this to see the light of day) end and the public’s expectations begin?

  7. I adored the recent Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders, “Inspired by E. Nesbit’s Five Children and it Stories”. It won the UK Costa Award and is currently longlisted for the Guardian prize. My thoughts here:

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      EXCELLENT POINT!!! And a better received novel of recent years I can hardly think of. Wonder if it’ll ever come to the States.

  8. And if you want schlock sequels, look no farther than all three Stuart Little movies.

  9. Rebecca Aaronson says:

    I don’t know if Josh will agree, but my vote for sequel that should never have been written goes to any book that ends with “licicious” . Should be Purpletrocious.